Another Drumbeat Heard From

From Israeli columnist Ari Shavit, writing in Haaretz:

A few years ago Netanyahu held an in-depth discussion with Middle East expert Bernard Lewis. At the end of the talk he was convinced that if the ayatollahs obtained nuclear weapons, they would use them. Since that day, Netanyahu seems convinced that we are living out a rerun of the 1930s.

He hasn’t forgotten for a moment that two leaders he happens to admire, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, didn’t lift a finger to save European Jewry during the Holocaust. He is convinced that U.S. President Barack Obama won’t lift a finger to save Israeli Jewry. Thus he believes solely in the Israeli sword, seeing it as a deep expression and the last defense of the Zionist revolution.

As of now, the military option is proving to be a diplomatic success. It managed to shake the international community out of its apathy and made a definitive contribution to the tightening of the diplomatic and economic siege on Iran.

But the time for playing diplomatic games with the military option is drawing to a close. There’s a limit to how many times one can cry wolf. There’s a point at which a “hold-me-back” policy exhausts itself. And that’s a very dangerous point, because suddenly the military option turns into a real option.

The Netanyahu-Obama meeting in two weeks will be definitive. If the U.S. president wants to prevent a disaster, he must give Netanyahu iron-clad guarantees that the United States will stop Iran in any way necessary and at any price, after the 2012 elections. If Obama doesn’t do this, he will obligate Netanyahu to act before the 2012 elections.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that the preference for some segment of Israeli public opinion is that the U. S. attack Iran on Israel’s behalf, if for no other reason that that Israel’s ability to remove the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon by an attack analogous to those on Iraqi and Syrian nuclear reactors is in question.

What should President Obama say to PM Netanyahu? What can he say?

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, ,
Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. Rob in CT says:

    A few years ago Netanyahu held an in-depth discussion with Middle East expert Bernard Lewis. At the end of the talk he was convinced that if the ayatollahs obtained nuclear weapons, they would use them. Since that day, Netanyahu seems convinced that we are living out a rerun of the 1930s.

    He hasn’t forgotten for a moment that two leaders he happens to admire, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, didn’t lift a finger to save European Jewry during the Holocaust. He is convinced that U.S. President Barack Obama won’t lift a finger to save Israeli Jewry.

    This is terrifying. I really hope this isn’t true (that Netanyahu believes all this). If so, Israel is led by a madman. Israel has nuclear weapons.

  2. Rob in CT says:

    If the U.S. president wants to prevent a disaster, he must give Netanyahu iron-clad guarantees that the United States will stop Iran in any way necessary and at any price, after the 2012 elections. If Obama doesn’t do this, he will obligate Netanyahu to act before the 2012 elections.

    This deserves its own post. Holy Frijoles.

    Translation: Obama must promise war with Iran, or Israel will start a war with Iran.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What should President Obama say to PM Netanyahu? What can he say?

    Uhhhh, “Go screw yourself”?

    How about, “I am not throwing the world’s economy into the garbage disposal over your paranoid delusions of apocalyptic end times.”?

    Not that one either, huh?

    Maybe he should just lie.

  4. Rob in CT says:

    By the way, the last paragraph of that Haaretz editorial, which you didn’t quote:

    The moral responsibility for what may happen does not lie with the heirs of Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion. The moral responsibility will be borne by the man sitting in the chair that was once Franklin Roosevelt’s.

    The hubris here is absolutely breathtaking.

    If Israel starts a war with Iran, it won’t be Israel’s moral responsibility. It will be the USA’s, because the USA failed to stop it by promising… war with Iran.

  5. Hey Norm says:

    “…What should President Obama say to PM Netanyahu?”

    Fu*&-off.

  6. Hey Norm says:

    “…The hubris here is absolutely breathtaking…”
    Well put Rob.
    Off topic…nice day in the neighborhood, eh?

  7. Brummagem Joe says:

    What should President Obama say to PM Netanyahu? What can he say?

    How about you’re on your own Bibi if you want to start a pre-emptive war against Iran.

  8. Rob in CT says:

    Sure, bizzaro non-winter continues. Not that I notice, really, sitting here in my cube.

    Maybe I should go out to lunch today. It might do me some good. That Haaretz editorial really pissed me off.

  9. Hey Norm says:

    “…What should President Obama say to PM Netanyahu?”

    “If you continue to act against the best interests of the United States we will be forced to take action against Israel. As with Iran and other bad-actors in the Middle-East this action may be diplomatic or military or both…no options will be taken off the table.”

  10. Rob in CT says:

    @Hey Norm:

    Fun fantasy. But just that. Fantasy.

    The last time there was a disagreement, Congresscritters fell all over themselves to back Netanyahu over Obama.

    Don’t think Obama hasn’t learnt the lesson.

  11. Hey Norm says:

    @ Rob…
    Yeah…I know.
    But it is what he SHOULD say.

  12. Dave Schuler says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Maybe he should just lie.

    It’s funny you should mention that. That was my take, too.

  13. Rob in CT says:

    I’ll play. Here’s what he “should” say:

    “Bibi, look, I know you’re worried. I sympathize, I really do. And I’m telling you now what I’ve told the Iranians already: if Iran attacks Israel, we will respond to protect our ally. If Iran uses a nuclear weapon against Israel, or provides one for use by Hezbollah or some other group, we will respond IN KIND.

    Now, having said that, if you start a war with Iran because that’s not good enough, you are on your own. Your call.”

  14. Dave Schuler says:

    @Rob in CT:

    If Israel starts a war with Iran, it won’t be Israel’s moral responsibility. It will be the USA’s, because the USA failed to stop it by promising… war with Iran.

    Basically, it’s the Black Bart strategy.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Dave Schuler: Great minds think alike. OK OK Dave, stop your laughing, maybe I was just channeling my inner Dave Shuler.

  16. Dave Schuler says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    More likely it was my inner hillbilly talking.

  17. JohnMcC says:

    “What should Pres Obama say…” “That last $2billion check you cashed? Make it last because you’ll never see another one.”